July 21, 2006


NYS 8:56
NYT 7:49
LAT 5:03
7/21 CHE 4:41
CS 3:29
7/14 CHE 3:17

WSJ 9:38
Reagle 6:56

Wordplay update: The crossword doc expands to 161 screens this weekend, will cross the $2 million gross mark today. I'll be lobbying my in-laws to see it this weekend, but I don't think I can see it yet again...

And the puzzles: Two excellent themeless puzzles today—one from seasoned pro Patrick Berry (the Weekend Warrior in the Sun) and one from teenaged constructor Kyle Mahowald (NYT). I'm pressed for time (heading out of town for the weekend, and unless I hang out at the gas station near my in-laws' for the wifi, I'll be offline for a couple days), so I'll be quick.

The upper left corner of the Berry puzzle stymied me the most—particularly "Spots on a face" for PIPS on dice crossing "Coke consumer"/STEEL MILL (aha, the hidden lower-case "coke") and "It comes out of a bowl"/PIPE STEM. Uniformly good clues and fill.

I didn't do Kyle's NYT until this morning, owing to the exploded cable taking the Amsterdam internet exchange offline (or something like that). Maybe the system's not fully back online, because my finishing time didn't transmit. Whatever. Anyway, beautiful puzzle with umpteen fantastic entries, and clues that wouldn't be out of place on a Saturday. Why don't the rest of you fill in for me and share your impressions of this and the other puzzles of the day?


The theme in Steve Atwood's easy July 14 Chronicle of Higher Education puzzle is Tom Swifties. Vic Fleming and Bonnie Gentry team up for the July 21 CHE puzzle, "Infomercial Science." (57-Across is funny.)

Ray Hamel's got a bunch of good stuff in his CrosSynergy puzzle today. And either Jack McInturff's LA Times puzzles is hard, or I wandered off on a different wavelength.

Manny Nosowsky's Wall Street Journal puzzle, "Quaff It Up," converts K's/hard C's into Q's to make an especially Q-dense crossword. Quoth Trip Payne, "Yes, Q is a very good letter."

Great offering from Merl Reagle with this week's Philadelphia Inquirer Puzzle, "T Time."

Note re: UTNE, which appears in a few of these puzzles: There's a small chain of local groceries here that has no tabloids in the checkout lane. Nope, at Treasure Island stores, you might peruse the Utne Reader or Architectural Digest while waiting to be rung up.